A HREF=”http://opinionjournal.com/columnists/pnoonan/” TARGET=”_blank”>Peggy Noonan writes today about the proposed Department of Homeland Security and her belief that Rudy Giuliani is the right person to lead it. At the end of the article, she takes issue with the name “homeland” and for good reasons. Mickey Kaus, her political opposite, agrees, saying:
“This isn’t just an aesthetic issue. Morale is important in any war. If ‘homeland’ becomes officially enshrined, I predict it will cause a non-trivial loss of morale…”
Language creates the political experience. Kaus is correct. “Homeland” is an awful choice. It is exactly the aesthetics of the word that could create the low morale Kaus fears. The way the administration uses it, “homeland” is a fuzzy term. Whatever meaning we give to it, whatever connotations it ultimately carries, will be purely emotional. And this emotional meaning will affect morale and policy. Right now, it appears that “homeland” may be giving us the creeps.